Southern France is the focus of a new itinerary at river line Emerald Waterways. Starting in 2017, the luxury cruise line will launch Sensations of Southern France, an eight-day cruise that travels from Lyon to Arles along the picturesque Rhône and Saône Rivers, passing through Chalon-Sur-Saône, Tournon and Avignon. And, cruisers can extend their trip with land options in Paris and Monaco before or after the voyage.
Thirty departures are offered aboard Emerald’s newest ship, the Emerald Liberte, between April and October, 2017, and prices start at $2,695 per person, based on double occupancy. Booking by April 30, 2016 reduces those fares by $250.
The voyage, which includes seven nights aboard the Emerald Liberté, begins in historic Lyon, France’s second largest city and former Roman capital. After sailing north overnight, travelers will arrive in Chalon-Sur-Saône, best known as the birthplace of photography and the center of Burgundy’s wine region. Here, guests will be given a guided tour of the Hospices de Beaune, a museum featuring such famous works of art as The Last Judgment by Rogier van der Weyden, followed by an afternoon free to explore.
A day in Macon provides time to sample the local wines and culinary offerings for which this region is so famous, and an optional visit to the Benedictine Abbey of Cluney is available at an additional cost. In Tournon, one of the oldest and most important monastic towns in France’s Burgundy region, a walking tour of the 17th-century castle (with optional wine tasting) highlights the city’s past. A cheese and olive tasting on board makes for the perfect ending to the day.
Avignon has a rich history, from its Celtic beginnings to being the residence of popes and then a central location in the French Revolution. A guided walk here uncovers the historic center, as guests stroll the cobbled laneways and browse the shops overlooking the famous ‘Pont de Avignon.’ A walking tour of Arles—including the 2,000-year-old amphitheater—wraps up the journey.
For those wishing to extend their stay in France, Emerald Waterways offers the opportunity to spend time exploring Paris and Monaco. Guests wishing to see Paris can add a three-night stay at the beginning or end of the sailing with a package that includes accommodations, daily breakfast, one dinner, a city tour and the chance to tailor the stay with Discover More opportunities to Versailles or the Lido Cabaret performance starting at $875 per person.
While in Nice, guests can discover Monaco, an independent state on France’s Mediterranean coastline known for its glitzy casinos, yacht-lined harbor and prestigious Grand Prix motor race. This extension package contains three-nights accommodations, guided tour of Monaco and Monte Carlo, day trip to Cannes and the Grasse Perfumery, breakfast daily and one dinner starting at $785 per person.
The Emerald Liberté will carry 138 guests in 70 suites and staterooms, with a three-to-one guest/crew ratio. Guests have a choice of two restaurants—Reflections, the main dining room, and The Terrace for light breakfast and lunch.